Ranchi, Sept. 16: Come November, the donkey will teach you computers.
No mistake, you heard it right. The 5,000-year-old domesticated member of the Equidae or horse family — considered the dumbest four-legged creature ever to walk the surface of the Earth — has been chosen as the mascot for a virtual cradle to be launched by Jharkhand Police.
Christened Ponkey — a donkey in police uniform — the mascot has been handpicked to drive home the point that if a dolt of an animal can teach computers, why can’t Homo sapiens, touted as the most intelligent life form on the planet, learn it.
The police department’s cyber institution, Ponkey Academy of e-Learning, will impart lessons in Hindi so that the common man can easily grasp what is taught. The free school is likely to open doors for everyone, including the men in uniform themselves, at the Jharkhand Police’s official web address three months later.
IG (special branch and operations) S.N. Pradhan said they were hopeful of floating the virtual cradle, which is in its final stages, on Statehood Day (November 15).
“Our computer school has two big advantages. One, it will be open round the clock, which means anybody and everybody can avail of Ponkey’s tutorials. And two, lessons are free. So, the virtual academy will save both money and time, not to speak of energy often wasted in travelling great distances to study in computer schools,” a senior official involved in the project said.
Pradhan offered a trailer to what aspiring candidates of the Ponkey Academy can expect. The five-minute preview The Telegraph was privy to at his office started with a cordial welcome in the national language.
“Apka hamare school mein swagat hai. Asha hai aap hamare saath computer seekh sakhenge aur iska upyog apne karyon mein aasani se kar sakenge (I welcome you to my school. I hope that you will be able to learn computers with me and make good use of my lessons in your life),” Ponkey, the professor, was heard addressing his prospective pupils.
Pradhan maintained that more than 23,000 policemen across the state had trained in computer operations through e-lessons and the new virtual school would be more entertaining for new learners, thanks to Ponkey.
“The mascot will make lessons more interactive. We wish to communicate to learners that if a donkey can teach computers, why can’t they learn how to operate it,” the IG said.
He added that there might be certain changes in the final form of the academy, but Ponkey would remain the pin-up boy.
On why the police department embarked on such a unique project, Pradhan said computer and Internet applications had become an important tool in crime detection.
“So, our men need to adopt technology to increase efficiency in policing. Besides, people in general too need to march with time. Ten years ago, mobile phones were a luxury and in possession of a flamboyant few. Today, it is a necessary gadget and everyone — young or old, rich or poor — finds it convenient. We wish to bring this level of convenience in case of computers,” he explained.
His juniors are no less excited. A constable in Ranchi admitted that at present learning crime-busting techniques through computers was tedious. “But, the virtual school is coming up with a lot of promise. Above all, it is meant to be entertaining and interactive. I will be glad to take lessons from a donkey,” he chuckled.